It was 1994. Tinkle faced its biggest challenge. A fire broke out in the Eruchshaw building at Fort,Mumbai which housed the Tinkle offices. Savio Mascarenhas,who worked with the childrens magazine for over two decades recalls ,during those days,all the sketching,colouring and writing was done on paper. The fire had consumed all our work for the coming issue. Our entire team,headed by Uncle Pai had to start from scratch. But the art and edit team still pulled off the issue in time.
This month Tinkle celebrates its 33rd anniversary. Since 1999,there has been a gradual digitisation of artworks. Unless I feel a strong urge to put pen to paper,all the work is done on computers, says Mascarenhas,art director at Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) Media,the company which publishes Tinkle.
He started out as a copywriter and freelanced with Tinkle in the early 90s. I had read the magazine through my childhood and I particularly loved the hat-hidden eyes and the thin moustache avatar of Shikhari Shambhu,created by famous artist Vasant Halbe. After freelancing for a while,Uncle Pai asked me if I wanted to work with ACK full-time, says Mascarenhas,who extensively works on the Shikhari Shambhu comic,and has also co-created Janoo and Wooly Woo (the adventures of a smart girl and a timid dragon),and Mopes and Purr (a cat and dog detective duo who solve crimes against animals).
Noting the changes that he has seen over the years, Tinkle was first published on November 14,1980 the 44-year-old says that todays comics are constantly contemporised. Take for instance our character Billy,a vampire,who was created last year in response to the growing appeal of vampires in pop-culture, says Mascarenhas. He now gets to meet his readers at comic conventions.